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Author Archive for BBC Sport - Football

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Giggs defends decision to rest Bale amid disappointed Wales fans

Ryan Giggs says he understands why some Wales fans were disappointed that Gareth Bale was left out of Wednesday’s friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.Wrexham’s Racecourse…

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Giggs defends decision to rest Bale amid disappointed Wales fans

Ryan Giggs says he understands why some Wales fans were disappointed that Gareth Bale was left out of Wednesday’s friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.Wrexham’s Racecourse…

0

Wales 1-0 Trinidad and Tobago: Ben Woodburn scores injury-time winner

Ben Woodburn

Ben Woodburn’s added-time winner saved Wales’ blushes as they marked the return of international football to Wrexham with an unconvincing friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.

In preparation for Sunday’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia, manager Ryan Giggs rested almost his entire first team as Wales played in the north for the first time since 2008.

The sweeping changes seemed to hinder the unfamiliar looking home side, who could barely muster any serious efforts on goal against opponents ranked 93rd in the world.

Things almost got embarrassing early in the second half, as Trinidad and Tobago’s Aubrey David had a shot cleared off the line by Chris Gunter.

But two minutes into injury-time, Wales debutant Will Vaulks’ floated cross to the back post was chested in from close range by Woodburn.

It was a late reprieve for Wales, for whom very few will have furthered their case for selection for Sunday’s qualifier against Slovakia at Cardiff City Stadium.

And while Giggs may be frustrated with the display and perhaps a little unsure about some of his own selections here, the late winner means his record now reads as four wins, one draw and five defeats from his 10 matches in charge of Wales.

Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale and Wayne Hennessey<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Wales underwhelm in Wrexham

The Racecourse is the oldest existing stadium to stage international football – having hosted Wales’ first home match in March 1877 – and there was some excitement in Wrexham before the team’s return.

But that sense of anticipation was tempered when the teams were announced, with Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale left out of the squad completely and only a handful of players starting who could be considered first-team regulars.

There were a few grumbles among the sell-out crowd and no wonder – north Walian supporters travel in their thousands to watch Wales in Cardiff and abroad, so they will have justifiably expected to see at least a few of the leading stars on show.

As it was, they got behind their fringe and fledging players, who struggled to assert themselves against physically imposing but technically inferior opponents ranked 74 places below them in the world.

With many players playing alongside each other for the first time, Wales were devoid of fluency and pace and unable to trouble Trinidad and Tobago.

There was an improvement after the interval as Ryan Hedges, one of the game’s very few bright sparks, crossed well for George Thomas, who saw his headed goal disallowed for offside.

Then with the clock turning red – and Wales bracing themselves for another unimpressive friendly result after November’s defeat in Albania – Woodburn timed his run at the back post to bundle the ball into the net and prompt roars of relief from the home fans.

Since losing 0-1 to Costa Rica in February 2012, Wales are now unbeaten in their first match of a calendar year in each of the last seven years, winning five whilst drawing the other two.

Man of the match – Ryan Hedges (Wales)

Ryan Hedges<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Four make first Wales starts – the stats

  • This was Wales’ first match at the Racecourse Ground since a 3-0 victory over Norway in February 2008 under John Toshack. They are now unbeaten in their past five matches in Wrexham (four wins, one draw).
  • This was Ryan Giggs’ second victory on home soil since he took over as Wales boss, in what was his fourth such match in charge, stopping a run of back-to-back defeats.
  • Of players to start the match for both sides, only Trinidad and Tobago’s Levi Garcia maintained a 100% passing accuracy rate, completing each of his 16 passes before being substituted in the 60th minute.
  • Wales quartet George Thomas, Lee Evans, Ryan Hedges and Will Vaulks all made their first starts for their country against Trinidad and Tobago. Vaulks became the 11th debutant for Wales under manager Ryan Giggs.
  • Ben Woodburn’s winner was his second goal for Wales, with both coming in 1-0 victories at home (he also scored in a 1-0 win over Austria in September 2017).

Line-ups

Wales

  • 1WardSubstituted forDaviesat 45′minutes
  • 2Gunter
  • 6WilliamsSubstituted forLawrenceat 61′minutes
  • 4DummettSubstituted forJohnat 61′minutes
  • 3Taylor
  • 7Vaulks
  • 16EvansBooked at 81mins
  • 9RobertsSubstituted forMatondoat 71′minutes
  • 11Thomas
  • 14Hedges
  • 10Woodburn

Substitutes

  • 8Smith
  • 13John
  • 15Lawrence
  • 17Matondo
  • 18Roberts
  • 19Wilson
  • 21Davies

T’dad & Tobago

  • 1Phillip
  • 2David
  • 4Bateau
  • 5Cyrus
  • 18Hodge
  • 8Hyland
  • 19GeorgeBooked at 45mins
  • 23PaulSubstituted forHackshawat 81′minutes
  • 10GarcíaSubstituted forPeltierat 60′minutes
  • 9PlazaSubstituted forCatoat 45′minutes
  • 13Lewis

Substitutes

  • 6Mitchell
  • 7Cato
  • 11Peltier
  • 12Russell
  • 14Humphrey
  • 15Hackshaw
  • 16Jones
  • 17Williams
  • 20Muckette
  • 21Frenderup
  • 22Foncette

Attendance:
10,326

Match Stats

Home TeamWalesAway TeamT’dad & Tobago
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home21
Away2
Shots on Target
Home6
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away0
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Wales 1, Trinidad and Tobago 0.

Full Time

Posted at 90’+5′

Second Half ends, Wales 1, Trinidad and Tobago 0.

Posted at 90’+4′

Attempt missed. Ben Woodburn (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Posted at 90’+4′

George Thomas (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 90’+4′

Foul by Daneil Cyrus (Trinidad and Tobago).

Goal!

Posted at 90’+2′

Goal! Wales 1, Trinidad and Tobago 0. Ben Woodburn (Wales) with an attempt from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Will Vaulks.

Posted at 90’+2′

Attempt blocked. Ryan Hedges (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Posted at 90′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 89′

Delay in match Jamie Lawrence (Wales) because of an injury.

Posted at 89′

Delay in match Lester Peltier (Trinidad and Tobago) because of an injury.

Posted at 89′

Jamie Lawrence (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 89′

Foul by Lester Peltier (Trinidad and Tobago).

Posted at 88′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 87′

Delay in match Tristan Hodge (Trinidad and Tobago) because of an injury.

Posted at 86′

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Nathan Lewis.

Posted at 82′

Offside, Trinidad and Tobago. Khaleem Hyland tries a through ball, but Sheldon Bateau is caught offside.

Substitution

Posted at 81′

Substitution, Trinidad and Tobago. Neveal Hackshaw replaces Leston Paul because of an injury.

Posted at 81′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Booking

Posted at 81′

Lee Evans (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 80′

Delay in match Lee Evans (Wales) because of an injury.

Posted at 80′

Delay in match Leston Paul (Trinidad and Tobago) because of an injury.

Posted at 80′

Foul by Lee Evans (Wales).

Posted at 80′

Leston Paul (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 79′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 78′

Delay in match George Thomas (Wales) because of an injury.

Posted at 73′

Attempt saved. Lee Evans (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jamie Lawrence.

Posted at 73′

George Thomas (Wales) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Posted at 73′

Foul by Khaleem Hyland (Trinidad and Tobago).

Posted at 72′

Attempt missed. Ben Woodburn (Wales) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Hedges with a cross.

Posted at 71′

Attempt missed. Will Vaulks (Wales) header from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Substitution

Posted at 71′

Substitution, Wales. Rabbi Matondo replaces Tyler Roberts.

Posted at 70′

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Sheldon Bateau.

Posted at 69′

Offside, Trinidad and Tobago. Sheldon Bateau tries a through ball, but Nathan Lewis is caught offside.

Posted at 69′

Foul by Ryan Hedges (Wales).

Posted at 69′

Aubrey David (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 68′

Foul by Lee Evans (Wales).

Posted at 68′

Khaleem Hyland (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 66′

Offside, Wales. Ryan Hedges tries a through ball, but George Thomas is caught offside.

Posted at 65′

Hand ball by Lester Peltier (Trinidad and Tobago).

Posted at 65′

Will Vaulks (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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Wales v Trinidad & Tobago: rate the players

Wales team to face Trinidad & Tobago

Wales’ international friendly against Trinidad and Tobago is under way in Cardiff.

We’re giving you the opportunity to rate the players from each side out of 10 during and after the game. You can do so using our Player Rater below.

Remember to check back 30 minutes after the game to see the final average ratings…

helpHow to play

Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection

Wales

Starting XI

Avg

  1. Squad number1Player nameWard
    Average rating

    5.44

  2. Squad number2Player nameGunter
    Average rating

    5.29

  3. Squad number6Player nameWilliams
    Average rating

    5.27

  4. Squad number4Player nameDummett
    Average rating

    5.53

  5. Squad number3Player nameTaylor
    Average rating

    5.16

  6. Squad number16Player nameEvans
    Average rating

    5.06

  7. Squad number7Player nameVaulks
    Average rating

    5.95

  8. Squad number9Player nameRoberts
    Average rating

    5.26

  9. Squad number11Player nameThomas
    Average rating

    5.25

  10. Squad number14Player nameHedges
    Average rating

    5.24

  11. Squad number10Player nameWoodburn
    Average rating

    5.51

Substitutes

Avg

    No players have been substituted yet

Trinidad and Tobago

Starting XI

Avg

  1. Squad number1Player namePhillip
    Average rating

    7.06

  2. Squad number2Player nameDavid
    Average rating

    7.75

  3. Squad number4Player nameBateau
    Average rating

    7.11

  4. Squad number5Player nameCyrus
    Average rating

    7.98

  5. Squad number18Player nameHodge
    Average rating

    7.72

  6. Squad number8Player nameHyland
    Average rating

    7.82

  7. Squad number19Player nameGeorge
    Average rating

    7.37

  8. Squad number23Player namePaul
    Average rating

    6.79

  9. Squad number10Player nameGarcía
    Average rating

    7.65

  10. Squad number9Player namePlaza
    Average rating

    7.83

  11. Squad number13Player nameLewis
    Average rating

    7.48

Substitutes

Avg

    No players have been substituted yet

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Euro 2020 qualifying: All you need to know about European Championship qualifiers

Portugal win Euro 2016

Euro 2020 qualifying starts on Wednesday with 55 countries battling for 20 spaces at the tournament next year.

How does it all work? Who is looking in good shape? And how does the Nations League tie into this? BBC Sport answers all those questions and more.

What can you tell me about Euro 2020?

Euro 2020 map showing where matches will be held<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Next year’s European Championship, which runs from 12 June to 12 July, will look a lot different to previous versions of the competition.

While we are used to tournaments taking place in a single host nation – or across two countries, as with Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and Austria and Switzerland in 2008 – the 2020 edition will be played out across the continent, with games in 12 countries.

No team automatically qualifies this time, with the games to be held across London, Glasgow, Dublin, Rome, Baku, St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Bilbao, Munich and Budapest.

The opening match will be played at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Wembley will host seven games – three group matches, one last-16 tie, both semi-finals and the final.

Glasgow’s Hampden Park and Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will host last-16 matches and three group games. Every host country to qualify will play a minimum of two games at home.

The format of Euro 2020 will be the same as Euro 2016 – six groups of four teams, with the top two and the best four third-placed teams going into the last 16.

How does qualifying work?

There are 10 qualifying groups, of five and six teams, with the top two countries from each group going through automatically.

The first round of qualifiers are on 21-23 March 2019 – and the final games are on 17-19 November 2019. The Nations League finalists, including England, are not in action on matchday two or three in June 2019 so they can play the finals of that tournament.

There are no play-offs after these qualifying groups for third place.

Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.

Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.

Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.

Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.

Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.

Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.

Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.

Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.

Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.

Group J: Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.

But what was that whole Nations League thing about? Where does that fit in now?

John Stone celebrates<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

The 16 teams who won their three or four-team groups in the Nations League last year guaranteed themselves a Euro 2020 play-off place, against teams of a similar level to themselves, if they fail to finish in the top two places in these upcoming qualifying groups. England and Scotland are among those teams.

If some do qualify for Euro 2020 – which is highly likely – then the next best team in their Nations League tier (in terms of position in their group, points and goal difference) who don’t qualify automatically themselves take their play-off place.

The play-off draw is on 22 November 2019, with the semi-finals and finals being played from 26 to 31 March 2020.

These are the teams guaranteed a play-off place at least.

League A: Portugal, England, Switzerland, Netherlands

League B: Ukraine, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden

League C: Finland, Norway, Scotland, Serbia

League D: Georgia, Belarus, Macedonia, Kosovo

The Nations League finals – between England, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands – in June this year have no impact on Euro 2020 qualifying.

What are the British and Irish nations’ chances of progressing?

Wales manager Ryan Giggs<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

“It’s very cruel, possibly the worst draw we could have got,” Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill said after being placed with the Netherlands and Germany. Estonia and Belarus are the other teams in their group.

Top-seeded England got a favourable-looking draw, in with the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo. Boss Gareth Southgate said “the biggest issue for us in preparing for those games” will be getting the right mentality and dealing with the away atmospheres.

Scotland – who have the safety net of a play-off place – face Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino. “I believe we will have a chance,” said manager Alex McLeish.

Wales are in with World Cup finalists Croatia, as well as Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. “It could be better, it could be worse,” said boss Ryan Giggs, adding that “it is masses better” they are in a five-team group.

The Republic of Ireland got fortunate when they should have been drawn in Group C – instead of Northern Ireland – but tournament rules mean only two host countries could be in one Euro 2020 group. That meant they got placed with Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar instead.

“There was a collective sigh of relief not being in the other group but it’s hardly going to be easy,” said Mick McCarthy, who starts his second spell as boss of the Republic.

What state are Europe’s other leading nations in?

Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Germany come into qualifying on a low after going out of the group stages at the last World Cup and getting relegated in the Nations League.

Coach Joachim Low took the unusual move of effectively retiring Bayern Munich trio Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller as part of a “new start”. The trio, all aged 29 or 30, helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup and have a combined 246 caps.

European champions Portugal are likely to have legend Cristiano Ronaldo back in the team. He sat out the entire Nations League to give him time to adjust to life in Italian football with Juventus, but he says he is now ready to return.

Ronaldo, with 85 goals, is the second top scorer in international history, 24 behind Iran icon Ali Daei.

World champions France are the favourites to win Euro 2020, although they lost their most recent competitive game 2-0 to the Netherlands in the Nations League.

Spain manager Luis Enrique and Italy boss Roberto Mancini take charge of qualifying campaigns for the first time – though both lost matches in the Nations League.

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote, said: “The top eight nations in Europe according to the Gracenote World Football Ranking – France, Belgium, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Croatia – all have more than an 80% chance of qualifying for Euro 2020.

“Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Serbia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Wales, Sweden and Turkey are most likely to complete the 20 direct qualifiers for Euro 2020.”

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Euro 2020 qualifying: All you need to know about European Championship qualifiers

Portugal win Euro 2016

Euro 2020 qualifying starts on Wednesday with 55 countries battling for 20 spaces at the tournament next year.

How does it all work? Who is looking in good shape? And how does the Nations League tie into this? BBC Sport answers all those questions and more.

What can you tell me about Euro 2020?

Euro 2020 map showing where matches will be held<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Next year’s European Championship, which runs from 12 June to 12 July, will look a lot different to previous versions of the competition.

While we are used to tournaments taking place in a single host nation – or across two countries, as with Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and Austria and Switzerland in 2008 – the 2020 edition will be played out across the continent, with games in 12 countries.

No team automatically qualifies this time, with the games to be held across London, Glasgow, Dublin, Rome, Baku, St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Bilbao, Munich and Budapest.

The opening match will be played at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Wembley will host seven games – three group matches, one last-16 tie, both semi-finals and the final.

Glasgow’s Hampden Park and Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will host last-16 matches and three group games. Every host country to qualify will play a minimum of two games at home.

The format of Euro 2020 will be the same as Euro 2016 – six groups of four teams, with the top two and the best four third-placed teams going into the last 16.

How does qualifying work?

There are 10 qualifying groups, of five and six teams, with the top two countries from each group going through automatically.

The first round of qualifiers are on 21-23 March 2019 – and the final games are on 17-19 November 2019. The Nations League finalists, including England, are not in action on matchday two or three in June 2019 so they can play the finals of that tournament.

There are no play-offs after these qualifying groups for third place.

Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.

Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.

Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.

Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.

Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.

Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.

Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.

Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.

Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.

Group J: Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.

But what was that whole Nations League thing about? Where does that fit in now?

John Stone celebrates<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

The 16 teams who won their three or four-team groups in the Nations League last year guaranteed themselves a Euro 2020 play-off place, against teams of a similar level to themselves, if they fail to finish in the top two places in these upcoming qualifying groups. England and Scotland are among those teams.

If some do qualify for Euro 2020 – which is highly likely – then the next best team in their Nations League tier (in terms of position in their group, points and goal difference) who don’t qualify automatically themselves take their play-off place.

The play-off draw is on 22 November 2019, with the semi-finals and finals being played from 26 to 31 March 2020.

These are the teams guaranteed a play-off place at least.

League A: Portugal, England, Switzerland, Netherlands

League B: Ukraine, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden

League C: Finland, Norway, Scotland, Serbia

League D: Georgia, Belarus, Macedonia, Kosovo

The Nations League finals – between England, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands – in June this year have no impact on Euro 2020 qualifying.

What are the British and Irish nations’ chances of progressing?

Wales manager Ryan Giggs<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

“It’s very cruel, possibly the worst draw we could have got,” Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill said after being placed with the Netherlands and Germany. Estonia and Belarus are the other teams in their group.

Top-seeded England got a favourable-looking draw, in with the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo. Boss Gareth Southgate said “the biggest issue for us in preparing for those games” will be getting the right mentality and dealing with the away atmospheres.

Scotland – who have the safety net of a play-off place – face Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino. “I believe we will have a chance,” said manager Alex McLeish.

Wales are in with World Cup finalists Croatia, as well as Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. “It could be better, it could be worse,” said boss Ryan Giggs, adding that “it is masses better” they are in a five-team group.

The Republic of Ireland got fortunate when they should have been drawn in Group C – instead of Northern Ireland – but tournament rules mean only two host countries could be in one Euro 2020 group. That meant they got placed with Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar instead.

“There was a collective sigh of relief not being in the other group but it’s hardly going to be easy,” said Mick McCarthy, who starts his second spell as boss of the Republic.

What state are Europe’s other leading nations in?

Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Germany come into qualifying on a low after going out of the group stages at the last World Cup and getting relegated in the Nations League.

Coach Joachim Low took the unusual move of effectively retiring Bayern Munich trio Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller as part of a “new start”. The trio, all aged 29 or 30, helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup and have a combined 246 caps.

European champions Portugal are likely to have legend Cristiano Ronaldo back in the team. He sat out the entire Nations League to give him time to adjust to life in Italian football with Juventus, but he says he is now ready to return.

Ronaldo, with 85 goals, is the second top scorer in international history, 24 behind Iran icon Ali Daei.

World champions France are the favourites to win Euro 2020, although they lost their most recent competitive game 2-0 to the Netherlands in the Nations League.

Spain manager Luis Enrique and Italy boss Roberto Mancini take charge of qualifying campaigns for the first time – though both lost matches in the Nations League.

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote, said: “The top eight nations in Europe according to the Gracenote World Football Ranking – France, Belgium, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Croatia – all have more than an 80% chance of qualifying for Euro 2020.

“Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Serbia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Wales, Sweden and Turkey are most likely to complete the 20 direct qualifiers for Euro 2020.”

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